Women And Hormonal Migraines

Hormonal Migraines
Women And Hormonal Migraines

Women And Hormonal Migraines - More women than men report having migraines. In fact, 70% of people who have migraines are female. And of this 70%, between one-half to three quarters attribute their migraine headaches to their menstrual cycles. This is due to the fluctuating hormone levels that women in their child bearing years experience on a regular basis. These are also called cyclic migraines.

It is important that a woman understand the correlation between hormones and migraines. A woman’s menstrual cycle is dependent on the two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The two weeks between mid-cycle (ovulation) and a woman’s period is called the follicular phase. Estrogen levels rise rapidly a few days before ovulation and fall just before ovulation. The two weeks after ovulation is called the leutal phase. During this phase, both estrogen and progesterone fluctuate. Following ovulation, progesterone is produced. The highest levels of estrogen and progesterone are reached on approximately day twenty-three, about five days before a woman’s period. Then, just before the menstrual period begins, estrogen levels drop significantly. This level remains low through her menstrual period. This rapid drop in estrogen is believed to be the trigger of many women’s migraines.

The use of birth control pills can be a cause of hormonal migraines as well and because of the hormonal changes that occur during the first trimester, a pregnant woman may have them, too. Some older women find that they never had a migraine before beginning hormone replacement therapy at the onset of menopause.

Hormonal migraine symptoms are usually the same as other migraines. The only real difference is when they occur. Because they occur at the onset of the menstrual period, migraine symptoms and menstrual symptoms often occur together. This can be especially debilitating.

On the brighter side, if a woman has a good idea of when her period will begin, she can take steps to alleviate both her migraine and menstrual symptoms. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines) such as Ibuprofren (the active ingredients in Advil and Motrin), Naprosyn, Orudis, Nalfon, and Relafen are usually recommended by doctors. Treatment should begin two to three days before the period begins and taken for the duration on the period and because fluid is retained during the menstrual period, mild diuretics are sometimes recommended. Limiting salt intake before the period may help as well.

For severe hormonal migraines, doctors may prescribe other medications. If birth control pills or hormone replacement pills are suspected to be the culprit, a pill with lower estrogen levels may help. If all treatment methods are unresponsive, certain drugs may be prescribed that affect hormone levels directly. If a pregnant woman is having migraines, they will often, to the delight of the expectant mother, stop during the second half of her pregnancy when hormonal levels cease to fluctuate. Of course always discuss any course of treatment with your doctor first before trying anything new.

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